(N.B. The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center—/Friends of the Earth-Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE-Phils.) invites you to a Solidarity Send-off Gathering and Media Briefing for Timuays Jose Anoy and Fernando Mudai .)

While we as a nation, have not been short of  unwanted regimes  that  personify greed, corruption, repression and even treason—we have not been wanting  either  of icons of valor and courage who started off as  accidental  heroes, reluctant whistleblowers or even gentle and peaceful upland tribes who have no choice but to resist large-scale and destructive  mining of their sacred lands.

 In recent days, the archetypal “kontrabida” in the Palace seems to have finally found its nemesis in the reluctant whistleblower, now instant “bida”, Rodolfo Noel Lozada, Jr . Lozada’s own narration of the greed, corruption and ruthlessness of the GMA regime has not only captured the people’s imagination. It has provoked a national outcry that critics say, may spell the end of  GMA’s  precarious rule.

 The call for an end to the “morally bankrupt and treasonous”  Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime has once again galvanized an entire nation shocked and outraged at the latest twists in the continuing scandal involving the botched $329-million  National Broadband Network (NBN) deal.

A broad range of forces have renewed calls and mobilizations for the resignation, ouster or stepping down of the GMA government, not only for its  lack of legitimacy, widespread corruption, grave human rights abuse and widespread repression, but also for gross violations of the constitution, the sell-out of national sovereignty and patrimony, the betrayal of national and people’s interests and the betrayal of public trust.

The GMA regime has become a narrow target of various opposition and resistance forces . Its  severe political isolation portrays a beleaguered government besieged on all fronts  and by an enraged and betrayed people.

 

But long before Jun Lozada has mustered his courage and rose up to the historical moment and patriotic duty  for his ” Inang Bayan” —less visible, yet more vulnerable and disempowered indigenous communities and their organizations have put up brave resistance, defending their ancestral domains against a  government policy of sell-out and plunder by mining companies, even without their free, prior and  informed consent.

 

The Subanon people of  Zamboanga peninsula, represented by Timuays Jose Anoy and Fernando Mudai , have been warding off  the entry of large-scale mining, particularly the Canadian-owned, TVI  Pacific, Inc. and its subsidiary , TVI Resource-Development Philippines,(TVIRD) into the Subanons’ ancestral lands.  The GMA government allowed TVI Pacific, Inc. to mine 508 hectares within the tribal people’s ancestral domains of about 8,213 hectares. As a result, the Subanons were forcibly displaced from their lands, including Timuay Jose Anoy and his family, their livelihoods and sacred sites destroyed including their sacred mountain, Mt. Canatuan.

 

After failing to obtain redress and justice in the Philippines for so many years, the Subanons, together with their local and international partner-organizations such as LRC-KsK, Indigenous Peoples’ Links (PIPLinks), Irish Centre for Human Rights and Tebtebba Foundation, filed in 2007, a complaint of racial discrimination and other related human rights violations  against the GMA government before the United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN-CERD). The  Philippines is a state party  to this human rights convention. The CERD complaint also implicated TVIRD.

 

The CERD Committee in its 72nd Session in Geneva Switzerland this February 2008, has summoned the Philippine government to formally respond to the Subanons’ complaints. The two Timuays, are set to face this government  that will be defending itself Kasama sa Kalikasan against the litany of human rights charges against its own citizens and people .

 

It is in the  spirit of solidarity for and recognition  of  the  valor of the Subanon people as examples of  other brave but unsung  men and women  and represented by their two leaders—- the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center—/Friends of the Earth-Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE-Phils.) invites you to a Solidarity Send-off Gathering and Media Briefing for Timuays Jose Anoy and Fernando Mudai . They will face  off  with the GMA  regime, represented by the “government’s men”—assigned band of  government defenders out to belie the Subanon people’s complaints and shield the GMA  regime from international condemnation.

We hope that the Subanons’ courage and patriotism will also be a wellspring of our own collective strength and action as we are being called upon as a people to act together in this hour of patriotic duty against a recalcitrant and callous regime.

15 February 2008

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